I guarantee you I am not the first and will not be the last to have heard or seen the common misconception of how darn evil stepfathers and stepmothers can be. As a little girl my first encounter with this evil stepparent notion was when Snow White’s horny father decided to remarry almost immediately after her mother’s death (I say immediately, because it was on the same page of the book after all). I always imagined her stepmother to be somewhat of a botched plastic surgery job with the personality of Cruella DeVille. And this is where a lot of kids are exposed to the idea that stepparents are their worst enemy and will surely send them into the forest with the huntsmen to be executed.
I am not denying that there is probably a huge amount of degenerate stepparents in the world but there is an equal amount of degenerate biologicals roaming the planet, if not more. I am looking to write this piece in the hope of spreading some much needed stepparent love because (shock, shock, horror!) not all stepparents are evil.
After two rather tumultuous marriages and having birthed my sister and I from each marriage consecutively, my mother had given up on marriage and men in general. She had established herself in her career and was a fine single-parent who did not want the added pressure of a relationship. This was until she met my stepdad, hereinafter referred to as my dad, because in all fairness he is more of a parent than my psychotic, alcoholic biological would ever have been given half a chance. After shunning my dad’s attempts at a date for a long time, she eventually buckled under the pressure from her friends and gave the then young man a chance. It’s been over 25 years and what follows is my own personal experience with stepparents.
Having not had any children prior to my mother and them never having kids together, one would think it is quite a challenge walking into a ready-made family, not only for my dad but for any stepparent in the same situation. But my dad has executed with such ease, I am convinced he was heaven-sent to my mom when she needed her faith in men restored. My dad has never taken to spoiling us. There have never been expensive birthday or Christmas presents and he definitely did not win his way into our hearts through bribery. What did we get? Love. Nothing pretentious or forced, just pure and irrevocable love. I don’t think I ever understood how much my dad really loved me until I gave it some much needed thought.
Now before I blow my dad’s trumpet, I’d like you to know that I have two equally awesome parents. My mother guides us and hopes for the best while my dad picks us up after we have fallen, all-in-all a very supportive and accepting environment that any child would be lucky to grow up with (I wasn’t near that grateful when I was a teenager). My dad was always there for everything, without reservation, he carted little girls back and forth to doctors - nursed them back to health. He listened for hours about boyfriends and offered advice. He offered advice and even when the advice was pushed aside and we bumped our heads, he was there to hold our hands and put us back on our feet.
The thing is, he has done it all. He has been a better dad than a lot of biological fathers could be. He is a rock to my mother and a hero to me. He is the one person in my family who does not love me because he has to but because he chose to. He chose to stand by my mother’s side when she needed him the most. He chose to wipe my tears when my world had collapsed. He chose to be my dad. And I cannot possibly express how much I love him for being there for me every second of every day.
I imagine I am not the only person who has had the pleasure of an amazing stepparent and I’m really hoping those who are this amazing can get the credit they deserve instead of the stereotypical fallacy that we’ve all come to believe.
So, for those of you still living with the mindset that all stepparents are evil, shame on you. And for all those amazing stepparents out there, thank you! Thank you for giving kids an opportunity at a second chance of a happy family environment.
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